Biology Student is Massachusetts Bound


Biology student, and UCF McNair Scholar, Antony Papadia was recently chosen from a large pool of talented candidates from across the country to win a spot in the Woods Hole Partnership Education Program.  He is one of 15 candidates selected for this summer’s program.

Papadia has been a UCF McNair Scholar since the Fall of 2013.  The McNair Scholarship Program is designed to prepare students from low-income, first-generation and traditionally under-represented groups for doctoral studies.

The director of the McNair program, Michael Aldarondo-Jeffries and Dr. Walter Sotero were fundamental to his admission into the program. Aldarondo-Jeffries has supported him through many applications, advising him to deliver strong applications and to network with many different institutions. Aldarondo-Jeffries also strongly recommended him for the Woods Hole PEP.

The Woods Hole PEP is designed primarily for college juniors and seniors who want to spend a summer gaining practical experience in marine and environmental science. Hosted in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, the program offers a four-week course and a six-to-ten week research project.

After learning about the program from a trip to San Francisco with the Minorities Striving and Pursuing Higher Degrees of Success in Earth System Science program, he quickly began his application.

The course for this summer is ‘Ocean and Environmental Sciences: Global Climate Change.” The course is organized in modules devoted to different disciplines. The modules are integrated in that each discipline addresses the theme of Global Climate change. In addition to the course, participants will work on a research project that will give them the opportunity to apply some of the techniques learned through the course.m

Papadia is looking forward to developing a mentor/mentee relationship through this program, as well as working dedicatedly on his future research project.

“My main research interest is determining the effects of biological and anthropogenic toxins and pollutants on the health, physiology, and adaptation of marine animal species, specifically on marine vertebrates such as sharks and fish,” he said.

While his reaction upon winning was a very happy one, he was filled with many emotions.

“My mother recently passed away from breast cancer after three years of combating the disease, and she was my number one supporter,” he said. “I know she must be looking down very proud of the accomplishment.”

Papadia has been a member of UCF biology professor and Pegasus Professor, Dr. Linda Walters’ research lab since January 2014.  He has been involved in undergraduate research on oyster reef restoration that was presented at SURE and a regional Indian River Lagoon Conference.  Papadia is also on staff to assist Walters with marine conservation outreach events and has even dressed as a pirate to help lead the annual Ocean Day event for the children at UCF Creative School for Children.

“Dr. Linda Walters has been fundamental for my career path. She has been a huge support for my admission into various programs, including the NSF REU summer program, and the current Woods Hole PEP program. She recommended me for the programs, but more importantly, she prepared me for them,”  Papadia reflected

Papadia was born in Caracas, Venezuela, and moved to United States with his mother when he was 13. He and his mother worked very hard to be successful in the United States. A big milestone in his life, Papadia will be graduating from UCF on May 8, 2015 and his future plans are to pursue a master’s program in fisheries biology or aquatic animal physiology, and subsequently a Doctoral degree in aquatic animal health. He loves to travel and is confident that his career will take him around the world and is hopeful for his career path to lead to government organizations such as NOAA.

Papadia would like to thank the many mentors he has had throughout his educational career, as he feels he wouldn’t be the person he is today without them.


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